The North Carolina rental agreements are contracts between a landlord (or owner) overseeing a real property and the tenant who wishes to use it. The tenant makes regular payments (“rent”) in exchange. Terms are set via the rental agreements, but they must comply with North Carolina’s landlord-tenant laws.
North Carolina Rental Agreement Types
Common Rental Agreements in North Carolina
- North Carolina Realtors Residential Rental Contract – this template, for use by residential rental units for North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, Inc members only. It provides an extensive list of rules and procedures, including specifics that go as far as outlining tenants’ duties upon termination and includes information of use of electronic notices.
- North Carolina Realtors Short-Term Rental Agreement– this template, for use by members of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, Inc only, is heavily used by short-term rental units throughout North Carolina. It outlines landlord-tenant laws including specifics such as occupancy limits and cancellation policies.
- North Carolina Association of Realtors Commercial Lease Agreement -this form, for use by members of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS®, Inc. only, is used for commercial lease agreements for a single tenant facility. It includes exterior sign installation rules, environmental laws, and other detailed commercial lease terms.
North Carolina Required Lease Disclosures
- Late Fee Disclosure (required for some) – Any late fees that are going to be imposed in a North Carolina lease agreement must be disclosed in the lease to be enforced in court (if challenged) and may not exceed $15 or 5% of the balance due (whichever is greater), or $4 and 5% of the balance (whichever is greater).
- Security Deposit Disclosure (required for some) – A security deposit from the tenant shall be deposited into a trust account that is licensed and federally insured. The landlord or the landlord’s agent shall notify the tenant within 30 days after the beginning of the lease term of security deposit information.
- Water Contamination Disclosure (required for some) – In North Carolina, landlords who charge tenants for water or sewage utilities must provide notice of contaminant levels exceeding the guidelines provided by the state (if they are known).
- Lead Based Paint Disclosure (required for some) – North Carolina requires landlords to include a lead-based paint disclosure alongside an EPA-approved informational pamphlet and notice of any existing lead-based paint in the rental property if it was built before 1978 and therefore is at risk of containing harmful lead-based paints that pose a threat to new tenants.
To learn more about required disclosures in North Carolina, click here.
North Carolina Landlord Tenant Laws
- Warranty of Habitability – In North Carolina, a landlord must provide hot/cold running water, HVAC, sanitation facilities, and more. They must also provide repairs upon written request in accordance with guidelines set forth in a lease. Repairs must be made in a “reasonable” timeframe, if they are not a tenant may seek money damages through rent abatement (a tenant must file action in Small Claims Court in order to proceed). A tenant may not withhold rent payments, unless it is agreed to in writing or a judge grants an order.
- Evictions – North Carolina landlords may evict tenants for a number of reasons including, but not limited to failure to pay rent, a violation of a leasing term, or committing an illegal act. Landlords must provide tenants with prior notice to quit, the amount of notice may depend on the type of eviction. As such, some evictions in this state may be immediate.
- Security Deposits – Security deposits in North Carolina are limited to a certain amount depending on the tenancy. Week-to week tenants can be charged a maximum of 2 weeks’ rent, month-to-month tenants can be charged up to 1 ½ months’ rent, and longer leases can be charged a maximum of 2 months’ rent. The landlord has 30 days from the end of the lease to return any unused portion of the security deposit.
- Lease Termination – North Carolina maintains different termination notification standards for periodic leases. These amount to 2 days for week-to-week leases, 7 days for month-to-month leases, and 1 month for yearly leases. A fixed-term lease may also be terminated on the grounds of active military duty, landlord harassments, unit uninhabitability, or domestic violence.
- Rent Increases & Fees – North Carolina landlords may raise rent prices as they see fit without providing notice or justification. Their ability to charge certain fees depends on the applicable lease’s length. Month-to-month late rent fees cannot be worth more than $15 or 5% of the rent, and late fees for week-to-week leases cannot exceed $4 or 5% of the rent for example. Bounced check fees also cannot exceed $25.
- Landlord Entry – There is no current statute on the amount of notice required by the landlord in nonemergency situations.
- Settling Legal Disputes – North Carolina’s small claims court will hear most any landlord-tenant dispute valued between $5,000 to $10,000. This includes eviction cases.
To learn more about landlord tenant laws in North Carolina, click here.